The Boston bombing incident affected me in a deep, personal way. It was an attack on runners everywhere; our way of life, our hopes and dreams. I originally wanted to run the San Francisco marathon in honor of Boston, but the Big Basin 50K (AKA Skyline to the Sea 50K) better suited my own goals and dreams. The SF Marathon also does not allow race day pickup of race packets which would have made things terribly inconvenient for me. I wore a nice 2013 Boston Marathon racing tank top that I specifically bought for this occasion.
I was running for Boston, especially for Martin, his little sister, and everyone who lost a limb. It broke my heart to hear about all the people that lost a limb. Growing up with a handicapped little brother makes it especially hard to see a child in a wheelchair. And my 2 year old baby just broke her leg last week! She was recovering well, so finally pulled the trigger and signed up for this 50K late on Wednesday night.
The Big Basin 50K is a point to point course starting in Saratoga, CA and ends at the sea at Waddell Beach (just north of Santa Cruz, CA). I drove to the finish line area and took a shuttle at 6:45am to the starting line.
The first 2 miles were very crowded. I should have started further up in the pack! There wasn't very much room to pass other runners but once I warmed up, I started to speed past runners whenever I got a chance. At mile 7, I got stung by a yellow jacket wasp on my left shin, which hurt! I swatted it off my leg, but the swollen sting mark is still there today. The race was going perfectly, until I decided to pass yet another runner at mile 11. I made my move, slightly off the trail when I turned my right ankle. Ouch! I had to stop and limp for a little while before I could continue running. It was bad, but it wasn't a full sprain like I managed to do at the Quad Dipsea back in November. But for the remainder of the race, I could feel my ankle on uneven surfaces or if I stepped on a rock or root in a funny way. At this point my daydreams of a fast finish (shooting to for a 5:45ish PR) were thrown out the door. If I wasn't careful, a misstep could end my day altogether!
At mile 13.5, the 50K runners get to do an extra 4-5 mile loop that the marathoners get to skip. This loop contains the toughest hill in the race. I have not done any serious hill training in ages! This hill kicked my butt! All kinds of negative thoughts crept into my head during this section. I stopped and drank a Pediasure and regained some energy and positivity. I was ready to really climb the hill when I turned a corner and found that the uphill was already done! Darn it! I should have chugged that Pediasure 10 minutes ago!
At around mile 15, I ran into a lady who had just sprained her ankle and taken a fall! I felt so bad for her! I stopped to see if there was anything I could do to help. She ended up dropping from the race. And at mile 20, I slowed down to walk with Chuck Wilson, who I had met before at another race. I found out he had torn his quadriceps muscle and had had surgery to reattach it back in September. And here he was, running a trail marathon! He wasn't a fast runner, but his passion for trails and the ultra running sport was very inspirational! Eventually I bid him farewell on some very gentle downhills. The trails became less technical, and the ankle no longer caused me any pain. I started to run well, even though I was feeling some fatigue.
At mile 28.5, I got to the last aid station on the course to drink some coke and eat some watermelon. I chatted with Allen Lucas, who is also a passionate trail runner! I love his enthusiasm! He even took a picture of me here.
I probably spent too much time at that last aid station, but at that point I didn't really care about my time as much since I was not going to break 6 hours anyway. Plus, it just isn't as fun to be too competitive in these races. I took my time to enjoy the beauty of the trails and to appreciate the simple gift of the ability to run.
Other notes: I only took one Saltstick Electrolyte capsule, even though I brought 6. I probably drank no more than 30 ounces of water throughout the race. I drank one Pediasure for breakfast, one right before the race, and one midway through the race. I took a total of 3 servings of Vespa and one pack of Honey Stinger chews. Next time, I think I'll pack another Pediasure to drink late in the race. My longest run in the past 4 months was a 2:50 20-miler on asphalt, which is clearly insufficient